19 Streaming Movies to Watch with Your Parents Right Now

updated May 1, 2020
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Since many people are quarantining with parents right now, the quest to find ways to spend time together in a way that doesn’t feel like the worst part of high school is on. Personally, I spent most of my time being a teenager in my room, playing emo music, and hoping my crush signed on AOL. If I spent more than an hour alone with my parents, we’d surely fight about something. As I grew older, my relationship with my mom and dad changed. We learned how to have conversations that didn’t implode, and we could finally spend quality time together—much of which was watching movies.

Obviously, I wasn’t watching the same movies with my parents as I did with my friends. There was no movie night that featured “Knocked Up” or “Superbad.” We stuck with more or less family friendly movies like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” or the “Terminator” series. No movies with long, drawn out sex scenes, nothing too rom-com-y, and certainly nothing too gory or violent. These days, the formula remains pretty much the same.

All people have different tastes in entertainment—my parents, for instance, are currently in their 70s, they’re Russian immigrants, and they love them some Robert De Niro—but I tried to find movies that anyone can watch and enjoy with their parents if they’re all hunkering down together right now. Here are some pretty reliable crows pleasers.

1. The Irishman

The Irishman” is about hitman Frank Sheeran who becomes part of the Italian mob inner circle. Frank soon starts working for the powerful Jimmy Hoffa (leader of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters) and ends up being his bodyguard. All the while Frank’s relationship with his daughter Peggy deteriorates as she learns more and more what her father does for a living. The movie is three-and-a-half hours long, though, so make sure to block off plenty of time for snack and bathroom breaks.
Streaming on Netflix

2. Julie & Julia

Julie & Julia” follows Julia Child and Julie Powell in two different time frames. While Julia is making a name for herself in the culinary world, Julie feels stuck in her cubicle job where she feels like she serves no real purpose. Julie’s creative and successful friends are getting deals with major networks, but she feels career FOMO and decides to start a blog documenting her year of making all of Julia Child’s recipes. Based on the real lives of both Julia and Julie, “Julie & Julia” is delightful, inspiring for all, and will probably make you crave Beef Bourguignon.
Streaming on Netflix 

3. National Lampoon’s Vacation

National Lampoon’s Vacation” (for that matter, all of the National Lampoon movies with Chevy Chase, which are on Hulu) is the ultimate family movie (save for a few inappropriate moments in which Clark Griswold has recurring fantasies about a woman who may or may not be real). It follows the Griswolds as they take a road trip across the country to get to Wally World. Very many things go delightfully wrong, as they always do for the Griswolds. But for the Griswold family, it’s always about the journey, not the destination. 
Streaming on Hulu

4. A Quiet Place

Although “A Quiet Place” is technically a thriller, it’s also a movie that’s ultimately about the importance of family. In “A Quiet Place,” Evelyn and Lee Abbott must raise their children in a world of silence because if anyone makes any kind of noise, a human flesh-eating alien springs out of nowhere and devours any living thing in sight. It definitely doesn’t help the situation that Evelyn is super pregnant. As time goes on, it becomes clear that the situation the Abbott family is in is just not sustainable. 
Streaming on Hulu, Amazon Prime

5. The Inventor

If your parents love documentaries, “The Inventor” is a fascinating look into one of the world’s biggest scams that happened right under Silicon Valley’s nose. “The Inventor” dives into the life of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and CEO of her company, Theranos. Her big “invention” was the ability to test for all kinds of diseases and provide a form of preventative medicine with just a single drop of blood. Of course, that wasn’t actually possible, but that didn’t stop investors from giving her millions of dollars. Theranos grew to epic proportions and Elizabeth was lauded as one of the most innovative thought leaders in the tech and medical space. That is, until people discovered the truth about Theranos. 
Streaming on Hulu, HBO

6. Groundhog Day

Parents love Bill Murray! It’s a fact! In “Groundhog Day” Murray plays weatherman Phil Connors, who gets stuck in a time loop after visiting Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, home to the annual Groundhog Day festival, which Phil detests. He and a reporter travel there in order to cover the event, and get trapped by a snowstorm. When Phil wakes up the next morning, he realizes the same events from the day before are replaying — again and again.
Streaming on Netflix 

7. The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness,” based on a true story, follows a salesman named Chris Gardner who invests all his money in a new type of scanner that can read bone density. Unfortunately, he has trouble selling all the scanners and he eventually goes broke, which leads his wife to leave him and their five-year-old son. One day, Chris meets Jay Twistle, an important man who works on Wall Street, and impresses him by solving a Rubik’s Cube in a short amount of time. With Jay as a connection, Chris starts an unpaid internship even though he’s about to get evicted. Chris is excited by the opportunity, though, and sees it as a way he and his son can move on up in life.
Streaming on Netflix

8. Silver Linings Playbook

In “Silver Linings Playbook,” Pat, who is just released from a mental health facility for his bipolar disorder, comes home and tries to make up with his ex-wife Nikki, who cheated on him. Nikki, however, wants nothing to do with him. One day, Pat meets Tiffany, who also has a mental illness and the two bond over their similarities. Tiffany starts to have feelings for Pat, and reels him into a dance competition which Pat agrees to only if Tiffany will help him reconnect with his ex wife.
Streaming on Netflix

9. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Feel like feeling nostalgic? “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” might be one of those cheesy movies you watched with your parents in the ‘90s, and it serves as a pretty excellent distraction now. “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” is about a scientist working on a shrink ray gun he thinks doesn’t work. Except it totally does and when his kids sneak into his office and accidentally shrink themselves, they’ll have to figure out a way to grow back to a normal size. 
Streaming on Disney+

10. Star Wars: A New Hope

This is the original, but if you’re not in the mood for classic “Star Wars” films, Disney+ has all of the “Star Wars” movies, so you can start wherever you’d like. The basic premise of all “Star Wars” movies is that there are Jedis who fight for good, and Siths, which fight for evil, and there’s the Rebel Alliance fighting for freedom from the Empire (ruled by Darth Vadar, a Sith) that just wants power over everyone in the galaxy. If you’ve never seen the “Star Wars” movies, now’s a great time to start. The first few movies are definitely campy, but that’s why they’re so beloved. 
Streaming on Disney+

11. The Report

If your parents love a good political drama, “The Report” is right up their alley. In “The Report,” Senate staffer Daniel J. Jones leads an investigation of the CIA, who destroyed a bunch of tapes that show torture and interrogation on American soil. Based on a real story, “The Report” dives into post-9/11 politics and crimes that were largely kept secret.
Streaming on Amazon Prime

12. Troop Zero

In “Troop Zero,” we’re introduced to the inquisitive misfit, Christmas Flint. When Christmas learns that the Birdie Scout youth group that wins the talent show gets to hang out with a real-life NASA employee and have their voices be included on the Voyager Golden Record (which Christmas believes is her way to reach other beings in space), she puts together a scrappy team called Troop Zero. Led by de-facto Birdie Scout mother, Miss Rayleen (who is also Christmas’s dad’s secretary), Troop Zero will stop at nothing until they win the chance to be closer to space.
Streaming on Amazon Prime

13. I, Tonya

I, Tonya” is the biographical drama that tells the true story of Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding and how she helped orchestrate the attack on her rival, Nancy Kerrigan. Or did she? “I, Tonya” helps humanize the vilified figure skater, although it doesn’t shy away from her crimes. Maybe you were younger when news broke about Tonya Harding having Nancy Kerrigan’s knee bashed in, but your parents probably remember it pretty clearly and will probably find it fascinating. 
Streaming on Hulu

14. Logan Lucky

After Jimmy Logan loses his job, he plans a heist to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway and potentially get away with millions. Since his former job involved working on the tunnels underneath the speedway, he thinks he has a pretty good shot at pulling it off. He recruits his brother Clyde, as well as a convict called Joe “Bang,” and a few other quirky team members that the FBI later calls “Ocean’s Seven-Eleven.” 
Streaming on Amazon Prime

15. Coco

Sure, there are plenty of animated films to choose from on Disney+ (or, heck, all the platforms), but “Coco” is an especially heartwarming movie that speaks to how we honor our families and how we choose to remember them after they leave us. In “Coco,” Miguel’s dream is to become a musician, but his family doesn’t allow music in their house because Miguel’s grandmother used to be married to a musician who abandoned her and her family. One day, Miguel finds an old photograph of his grandmother and his grandfather—who happens to be holding his idol’s guitar. Although someone ripped the face off the photograph, Miguel assumes that his grandfather was the late, great musician, Ernesto de la Cruz. On the Day of the Dead, Miguel ventures into the world of the afterlife on an epic adventure to find his grandfather.
Streaming on Disney+

16. The Theory of Everything

This biographical drama shines a light on a young and brilliant Stephen Hawking before he was diagnosed with ALS. Stephen’s discoveries about physics and space, as well as his romance with Jane Wilde are beautifully portrayed in “The Theory of Everything.”
Streaming on Netflix

17. The Big Wedding

Okay, so maybe I did see this one in theaters with my parents. And we had a really good time! In “The Big Wedding,” a couple that’s about to get married learn that the groom’s biological mother is coming to the wedding at the very last minute. The only problem is that the groom’s adoptive parents are divorced, and his biological mother is very, very religious. So, even though the groom’s father’s new girlfriend is staying with the whole family, they all have to pretend that he’s still with his ex wife. Chaos, of course, ensues. 
Streaming on Hulu

18. The Farewell

Only watch this one if you’re ready to cry, and have plenty of tissues ready. In “The Farewell” a Chinese-American aspiring writer learns that her grandmother has been diagnosed with cancer and only has a couple months left to live. She also learns that her family is keeping the diagnosis a secret from her and pretending that everything is normal. 
Streaming on Amazon Prime

19. Iron Man

Disney+ has plenty of Marvel movies, but if you haven’t watched any yet, or want to embark on a Marvel marathon, start with “Iron Man“. It tells the origin story of the titular character,  who is billionaire tech genius Tony Stark. He’s the one who basically started it all (okay, technically Tony’s dad, Howard, started the Avengers, but we won’t spoil how or why if you’re new to Marvel!). 
Streaming on Disney+